Sunday, August 26, 2012

Heroines of Note

Remember these names: Nasrine Gross and Mary MacMakin. Privileged in a way, sure: educated, enlightened, engaged. Nasrine through runs a program in Kabul that teaches Dari to illiterate (false word) couples, often bringing together couples who would otherwise not have met. The idea is a novelty in the mud-brick homes of Kabul. She spoke at a gathering in her Falls Church, Va., home recently about the husband of a couple taking part in a ceremony at which they would receive a certificate for completing the course - but he was unable (some thought 'unwilling') to sign his name to the certificate. It turns out he was deaf and blind (his wife said) but he had participated in order to be sure his wife had some education. She revealed this when he struggled to find a way to put his thumbprint down on paper. Support this Afghan-born woman and her efforts, much of which is possible only through her own funding. On November 9, there is a bazaar that will feature Afghan crafts with proceeds going to the program. The costs of helping raise the literacy rate in that country are astoundingly low.
Mary MacMakin, an American in her 80s, was imprisoned for four days in July 2000 by the Taliban for her efforts in helping widows and orphans to support themselves through an organization she launched called PARSA, Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Support for Afghanistan.  (The program teaches women how to be physiotherapists, among other good works.) The Stanford University graduate first went to Afghanistan in 1961 with her husband and got engaged in various humanitarian projects. Tough ladies doing tough stuff. 

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